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Month Index: July, 1995

From:     Jareth the Bard <Phineas@?????.net>
Date:     Sun, 16 Jul 1995 16:23:35 -1000
Subject:  Re: Arcane helm monopoly...
Mike, as a U. S. Army Officer and DM I can share a few comments on general
tactics.  Granted that a Navy Officer would be better suited but I don't
know if any are on this list.

>In using it tacticly, it seems the requirement is to be able to fire on
>exposed decks.

That is the most desirable option but not a "requirement."

>Several small ships could either disable or suppress the
>crew from coming on deck by maintaining covering fire positions from all
>sides on the deck.

True, if you could make a surprise attack while everyone is below.  However,
usually you can spot vessels from far away and unless you have an idiot for
a captain, you won't usually pull within weapons range without being
cautious and manning the weapons, just in case.  The enemy ships could
disable or suppress the crew with a high enough volume of fire and maintain
it IF they were in the correct positions in regards to your ship but again,
unless your captain is an idiot, he will know what those postions are and
prevent them maneuevering him into a "fire sack."  Remember also that the
positions would have to take into account all three dimensions.  If they're
all above, firing down onto the decks, all the captain would have to do is
order the helm to roll the ship over and expose his belly until he could
spelljam away or make adjustments.

>This wouldn't help versus ship weapons which can be
>pulled into the hull to be loaded.  Have a Glasssteel, or glassee window
>to target the device and just take parallax into account when you fire.

That should work.

>It seems that for certain purposes, like controlling extensive rigging,
>having an open deck makes sense, but to prevent boarding, or to shield
>your own crew in preparation for boarding an overhead movable shield
>and/or large hatches to the boarding staging area would make sense.

An overhead shield would protect the crew yes.  But one thing that you have
to remember in combat.  An obstacle for the enemy is (in most cases) also an
obstacle for you.  Remember that in 3D combat, your ship can be boarded from
the top.  If the enemy tries a shearing attack, your crew will have to fire
around the shield.  Also I am not sure what you mean by "boarding staging
area."  When boarding a ship, you take what you can get.  Establish a
foothold wherever you can and expand from there.

>What sorts of boarding impediments and boarding aids do people use on their
>ships?  An obvious mechanism is a Psionicist who can Dimension Door to an
>unobserved portion of an enemy ship through which the marines, (but no
>not necessarily the psionicist himself) board.
>The problem seems that the more impediments there are to boarding, the harder
>it will be to use ship's weapons during closing.

I have also used a Mage who used Protection from Fire spells on himself
before he Teleported into thier ship's hold, and then before the enemy found
out he was there (because they were all on deck)  he would cast a Delayed
Blast Fireball, Meteor Swarm, Fireball,...etc. until he thought it was
getting "too hot" (Ouch!) and then Teleport back.  Destruction from within,
and it caused the enemy ship to be destroyed or at least disabled until they
enemy crew could put out the fire.  This was useful when repelling enemy
ships that you don't really want to mess with and capturing ships and thier
crews that you wanted to take with minimal damage.  They either surrendered
so they could put out the fire or they fought and let the fire spread.
Naturally this was a one man/mage operation and as you could tell it was a
deadly technique in the Flow.

>A compact ship would seem to have an advantage in that it would be easier
>to concentrate marines in defense, and a smooth hull with no protrusions,
>or a few isolated ones would work well.

It would, if the "marines" fell for the chanelling ploy.  As I mentioned
earlier, in 3D combat if a captain wants to protect his crew he can order
the helm to roll the ship and expose his belly.  I used to take advantage of
this defense and use harpoons to shoot into his hull.  Once securely lodged,
the boarding party would slide across and cut into the bottom and work their
way up.

>However, unless ship's weapons ports can snipe at people on the hull, boarders
>can hide on the 'dark side' of the ship, landing as opportunity and space
>arise until a large enough party to rush the sides has boarded.

Correct, as I mentioned in the above example, the boarding party hides on
the "dark side" of the ship but there is nothing in the rules that says that
they have to rush the sides.

>If two ships are working together, they can cover each others bellies by the
>simple expediant of coordinating their maneuvers so they can crush boarders
>between them.  This only works for smooth, flat or round hull designs...

Again, I discourage any captain from exposing his belly for long periods of
time, unless he has weapons ports that can cover any attacks there.  As a DM
I run tournament style games from time to time so that players can get
familiar with combat tactics.  The players will go head-to-head against each
other.  They are the captains and are given a starting amount of money.
>From that money they can purchase their ships and weapons and recruit a
crew.  Tthe crew isn't actually paid until after the voyage (if they
survive) but the players must not recruit more than they can pay.
Naturally, higher level crew cost more money.  The debate/battle continues
to see which is better:  spend most money on a big ship and little on the
crew,  spend a little on the ship and a lot on the crew, or balance the ship
and the crew.  I had one player who did quite well by purchasing several
small ships and a crew for each one, however I was a nice DM and didn't make
his other ship's captains rebel and try to skate out on him.  {:-)

>Another question:
>Prior to combat, do you lock the helm room door?

No, the only guy in the helm room is the helmsman who can do nothing but man
the helm.  The door won't stop a boarding party unless it is wizard locked
and trapped.  If a boarding party is at the helm room door then everyone
else on the ship is probalbly dead or soon will be.  My ship's last defense
will always be at the helm room door.  Another way I keep this from being an
objective for the enemy is by having at LEAST two helms on board.  If one
room is about to fall I will order "Helmsman, tranfer all command codes to
the alternate/auxilliary/backup helm, now!"


Previous Message: Re: Arcane helm monopoly...
Next Message: Re: Arcane helm monopoly...
Month Index: July, 1995

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Arcane helm monopoly...    Michael Sandy    15 Jul 1995 22:04:45
Re: Arcane helm monopoly...    Skreyn@???.com    16 Jul 1995 14:29:19
Re: Arcane helm monopoly...    Thomas O. Magann Jr.    16 Jul 1995 20:01:45
Re: Arcane helm monopoly...    Michael Sandy    16 Jul 1995 23:29:40
Re: Arcane helm monopoly...    Jareth the Bard    17 Jul 1995 02:23:35
Re: Arcane helm monopoly...    Skreyn@???.com    17 Jul 1995 04:52:31

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